Open Health Tools, HIMSS to collaborate on open source standards

Open Health Tools, a multi-stakeholder group of open source advocates, has partnered with HIMSS to help spur the development of open source technology in healthcare.

Open Health Tools (OHT), whose chief health informatics officer is Robert M. Kolodner, MD, the former national coordinator for health IT, seeks to build a "ubiquitous ecosystem where members of the health and IT professions can collaborate to build interoperable systems." Its members include government agencies from the U.S., U.K and Canada, as well as vendors large and small.

[See also: Open Health Tools, Georgia Tech to spur IT adoption.]

OHT and HIMSS have agreed to collaborate on several fronts, including the use of open source technology, conferences and resources, such as whitepapers and webinars. This partnership will result in a new effort to deliver healthcare industry-specific guidance and non-proprietary solutions that aid in enabling the national vision of secure and seamless exchange of health information, officials say.

“Open Health Tools looks forward to joining with HIMSS to provide real-world value and accelerate innovation through health IT infrastructure and tools that enable better care and better health at lower cost,” said Kolodner. “This collaboration is another step toward our future vision of an agile, ubiquitous health IT ecosystem capable of responding to the rapidly evolving functional and interoperability needs of a Learning Health System.”

[See also: Open Health Tools project to boost HIEs.]

Officials say initial collaborative activities will include support to the HIMSS Interoperability “tool kit” currently under development; collaboration on projects such as an OHT-IHE joint user interface project and joint IHE-Patient Care Devices OHT interoperability extensions for telehealth and telemedicine. The groups have also agreed to author joint whitepapers.


“Integration and interoperability of healthcare information has been a HIMSS strategic priority over many years,” said Jim St.Clair, senior director, interoperability and standards at HIMSS. “This collaboration with Open Health Tools adds another pillar of support to our 2012 priority to offer open and extensible tools to our membership and stakeholders to fulfill the national vision of interoperable heath technology.”